The Best Explanation Of Fame I've Ever Heard

Categories: Advice

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I'm always amazed by celebrities who crave fame and claw their way to the top to get it, then resent anyone who so much as looks their way, while also hoping to keep the attention coming, bizarrely enough.

It's such a mad psychological dance that these people do--"Look at me! No, don't!"--but an old book I just caught up with got to the heart of these seeming contradictions with a real eloquence.

Here's a bit of it:


"I wanted success and recognition without losing my anonymity.

"I was haunted by my psychological conditioning as a child to be inconspicuous.

"It was impossible. I had to adjust to shocking, baseless adulation and an enraging loss of privacy.

"Unreasonably, I resented the attention I attracted even though I had fought for it.

"The most pleasant strangers provoked my fury because they simply looked at me, or watched how I picked up a fork, or stared while I spoke quietly with my daughter, or told me that they had seen the same facial expression on the screen.

"I felt that it was not their right to stare or be interested in me. I was wrong, but regardless of how full of admiration their interest might be, I still resented it.

"I resented my enforced and constant awareness of 'self'; I didn't want to live in a world of only 'me'.

"At first, I reacted with stony hostility, hardly smiling when someone approached me with a compliment. For a while, I denied that I was [me]--and I always felt ashamed afterward.

"After all, how could I call it an invasion of privacy when I had chosen to splash myself across the screen, seeking the applause and approval and attention of strangers?

"..The stardom I had fought for meant that 'they' would not leave me alone again. And of course I didn't really want them to. I wanted to be wanted...."


This passage is from the 1970 book Don't Fall Off The Mountain by someone named Shirley MacLaine, who's still famous and quite savvy, thank you.

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18 comments
Movielover
Movielover

I can imagine fame is a pain in the ass!  Probably don't want to go out in public without being camera-ready and on your toes for whatever shitfest the public might throw at you.  Best to be rich as hell and nobody recognizing you at all.  I have 1/2 of done already!  (the not being recognized part)

latenitebump
latenitebump

love shirley! big difference: to be discovered and claw your way to the top!

freddiemessina
freddiemessina

The reality is, it's more often just bullshit on the "star's" part. I have seen plenty of them walk around like everyone else without getting bothered or recognized. Alot of the time it's very much like that Sally Field/ Whoopi Goldberg scene in Soapdish.

onbiously not shirley maclaine
onbiously not shirley maclaine

this was posted on a datalounge thrad about Shirley Maclaine, and spawned its own spin-off thread.

"I met Shirley once at a wealthy family's house party and watched her be rude to every single last guest, especially those who were not in the biz. The bizarre part is that she kept denying she was Shirley Maclaine.

After a while, she was standing in the corner alone sipping her drink, so I thought it would be nice to chat her up. She had starred in a movie with my friend's mom, and remained on quite good terms with my friend and her mom so I introduced myself and she cut me off with "I'm not Shirley Maclaine". I mentioned that was a friend of _______'s and she softened somewhat, but still kept repeating like a mantra "I'm not Shirley Maclaine, I'm not Shirley Maclaine". It was *so* strange. After a few uncomfortable minutes, I said "well, you look like her, sound like her, move like her and dress like her" and she said "......she's in my family".

After dinner, she left around the same time I did, with the host saying "Goodnight Shirley" and her driver saying "Watch your step, Miss Maclaine" on the porch."

exackerly
exackerly

That passage was written before the tidal wave of papparazzi. It's one thing to be adored by fans, quite another one to have to run through a gauntlet of cameras every time you land at an airport...

Jcrain
Jcrain

And that, in a nutshell, is why fame can be such a bitch. The ones who truly deserve it - because of talent - get nipped in the ass every so often by a little annoying thang called snark. To which one can only respond: Shoo! Back to the shadows, this instant!

Phil Opian.
Phil Opian.

Don't flatter yourself.  You're just a "professional gay" with a blog.

Jonster
Jonster

So true.  You spend your early years wanting to be adored by millions, yet your talent depends on you being able to observe people in their native habitat.  If (a very big "if") fame arrives, you lose that objectivity immediately and are essentially cut off from the very activity that made you so successful in the first place, your ability to mimic the emotional responses of others by observing them. 

Tony
Tony

A lovely person. Definitely in my top 5 of pleasant, totally accidental celebrity encounters.

Timmmyk
Timmmyk

I once waited on her and she made ME fell like a star. KLASSAY.

Roids
Roids

And Shirley will still be famous in the afterlife.

Movielover
Movielover

Maybe she was in one of her other lifetimes at the party!  Like in On a Clear Day (with Babs) when she goes back in time and becomes somebody else!

Viv
Viv

As usual, your comment makes no sense whatsoever.

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